Date: 15/9/17

CRAIG KOPCZAK has been named as captain and Phil Joseph and Elliot Kear as vice captains for Wales’ Rugby League World Cup 2017 campaign.

Salford Red Devils prop Kopczak has been Wales’ skipper for the past two years and led the side to European Championship success in 2015 and World Cup qualification last autumn.

Kopczak said: “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a big competition.

“One of my best memories is leading Wales out in Cardiff in the opening game of the 2013 World Cup. It was a huge honour and it’ll be great to do it in another World Cup.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge. Each game is going to be really competitive and we need to make sure that we match Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Ireland in every department.”

Joseph, meanwhile, has previously acted as a vice captain under Kopczak.

On his vice captaincy, he said: “I’m very pleased about the appointment and can’t wait to help lead the lads into a World Cup.

“I’ve had some fantastic memories in rugby league and have played at the highest level for years, but the pinnacle of my career will be to play against the best players in the world on arguably the biggest stage.

“We have a close-knit group of boys with Wales. We work well with each other and for each other and that highlights why we have gone six matches unbeaten.”

For the World Cup, Elliot Kear – who has won 21 caps for Wales to date – has been named as an additional vice captain to lead the backline.

“It came as a bit of a shock when John [Kear] rang me, but I said that of course I’d be a vice captain,” he said.

“It is a massive honour for me and I was delighted with everything that John was saying to me.

“Playing against Italy at the Millennium Stadium and against Australia in Wrexham are two fantastic memories with Wales, but being a vice captain for a World Cup out there in Australia is going to be brilliant.

“We have had a good couple of years and hopefully we can keep that going.”

WALES’ TRAIN-ON SQUAD FOR RLWC2017: Larne Patrick (Castleford Tigers), Zak Williams (Coventry Bears), Courtney Davies, Steve Parry, Lewis Reece (all Gloucestershire All Golds), Danny Ansell (Hunslet), Sam Hopkins (Leigh Centurions), Michael Channing, Ben Evans, Dalton Grant, Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (all London Broncos), Josh Ralph (Newcastle Knights), Matty Barron (Newcastle Thunder), Joe Burke (Oldham), Caleb Aekins, Daniel Brown (both Penrith Panthers), Ant Walker (Rochdale Hornets), Craig Kopczak (Salford Red Devils), Matty Fozard (Sheffield Eagles), Morgan Evans, Connor Farrer, Andrew Gay, Christiaan Roets (all South Wales Ironmen), Regan Grace, Elliot Jenkins, Morgan Knowles, Ben Morris, Calvin Wellington (all St Helens), Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions), Jake Emmitt, Dan Fleming (both Toronto Wolfpack), Rhys Evans (Warrington Wolves), Gil Dudson, Lloyd White (both Widnes Vikings), Phil Joseph (Workington Town), Matty Seamark (Wynnum Manly Seagulls)

Wales will open their World Cup campaign against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby on Saturday, October 28.

They will then travel to Townsville to face Fiji on Sunday, November 5.

One week later, Wales will tackle Ireland in Perth in their final group match.